How giving up cash means giving up freedom and privacy in an age of mass surveillance

calendar iconNov 19, 2018


Ever since modern governments gained the ability to trace electronic communications, intercept transactions and monitor civilian movements within their borders, they also gained the power to stop transactions, skew records and abuse their control over their populations.

The public's outrage over the news of governments' mass surveillance exploitations comes from a duty to protect civil rights for freedom and privacy. For countries that have already experienced dictatorships in the last lifetime, including Germany, Russia and Iran will be more likely to resist power-hungry moves from their governments, such as Germany where cash is beloved for the freedom it carries.

Excerpts from Cashless Economy article

The post-Snowden era saw the proportion of Americans fearing the government intruding into their private lives reach majority, with an estimated 53% deeming it a threat, and 70% considering the State abused its authority, using excuses such as anti-terrorism, to increase its powers.

“Cash dispensers, smart-safes, and recyclers have provided banks, armored carriers, and merchants with new opportunities to automate and improve the process for handling cash.
"Eric ChengFederal Reserve Bank

For some, in the debate of whether or not to keep cash in the future, killing off hard currency would not only be a key to a fairer, less violent, and more egalitarian way of living but would also be a limit to the State’s power. Indeed, while the State and its central bank are in charge of the main decision-making regarding currency - how much to print, when to change the design, how much to store and release into the economy - much of the money’s management is left to the private sector...

...As an expanded illustration of the dangers of increased State control, civil liberties watchdogs name some of the most cashless countries in the world as those with poor human rights records and democratic reputation: Iran, Nigeria, Russia, China, for instance. Countries which have had to endure dictatorships, and have recovered, are more likely to be cautious with the power they give their governments over the lives, such as Germany.

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About Cashless Economy is edited by individuals and civil society groups fully committed to defending privacy and civil liberties against the abuse and the risks inherent in a cashless society.

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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2019